Million-dollar works set to start
After another successful irrigation season, we are about to embark on our annual winter works program.
The $7 million maintenance and capital works program will kick off on Sunday, May 15, which will enhance the capacity of our irrigation network.
Goulburn-Murray Water’s network has delivered 919Gl — compared to 857Gl the same time last year — across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District so far this season.
Over the next three months, more than 100 staff will put in thousands of hours maintaining and de-silting channels; remodelling channel banks; repairing and refurbishing structures such as bridge crossings, drainage culverts and flow regulators; and treating weeds.
To put this million-dollar undertaking into perspective, it works out at roughly $100,000 per working day.
It is money well spent when you think about why we’re doing it.
The significant investment aims to ensure the irrigation network’s efficiency and maintains our infrastructure for the long term.
Maintenance of our channel delivery network is crucial to making sure the network provides a reliable supply during the irrigation season.
To successfully complete these works, we are required to drain sections of the channel network between now and August 15.
Our customers know water supplied from the channel network is only guaranteed during the nine-month irrigation season and have made alternative arrangements for water supply for the next three months.
When these channels are dewatered, we are able to treat submerged aquatic weeds which affect water flow, promote silting and cause issues with automatic regulators.
Treating these noxious weeds helps to ensure our channels and infrastructure are properly maintained and safe ahead of the next irrigation season while ensuring a more consistent water supply to customers.
We have full-time staff dedicated to the weed treatment program over winter.
During this time, you may also see an increase in traffic so we encourage road users to take care while travelling near work sites.
For example, you may see cranes and excavators replacing 20 flume gates and undertaking a major overhaul on another 40.
Amazingly, this represents just one per cent of our total fleet of 6000 flume gates.
As always, the safety of our staff, customers and the local community is a priority and will be at the forefront for the successful delivery of this year’s program.
The works will be complete by early August to allow channels to be recharged and irrigation supply to resume by August 15.
As well as keeping our delivery system running efficiently and reliably to meet irrigation demands, there will be a flow-on effect to a large number of local businesses who will be employed to undertake the projects.
These important maintenance and refurbishment works provide the building blocks to our vision of a fair, affordable and efficient irrigation delivery system now and for decades to come.
G-MW managing director